Dan Cook wants Jean-Philippe Mateta to start for Crystal Palace this evening.
Mateta is yet to be headed a start this season in the league by Patrick Vieira, despite finishing last campaign as the club’s third-highest scorer and Christian Benteke having been shipped out to MLS with DC United.
Now, Cook wants to see the French striker start this evening at home to Brentford as Mateta is stronger physically than someone such as Odsonne Edouard, which is understandable given their difference in height and stature.
Cook has urged Vieira to unleash Mateta through the middle against the Bees tonight.
Speaking on the HLTCO Palace Podcast, he said: “I 100% want Jean-Philippe Mateta to start the game this evening. I think he does bring chaos and a bit more physicality to the head of the side than Odsonne Edouard.
“I’m not trying to pour scorn on Edouard here, but he doesn’t necessarily, for me, physically impose himself on defences in the same way that Jean-Philippe Mateta does.
Should Mateta start tonight?
“I think against Brentford that could be a real boost for us in terms of having someone, not necessarily to play off, but someone that is going to cause defenders headaches and really put himself about in a physical sense, and allow those three – Zaha, Eze and Olise – to run riot as and when the appropriate opportunity appears.”
TIF Thoughts on Mateta starting tonight…
As Cook spoke about, it would make sense to start Mateta against Brentford, who possess rather tall centre-backs, so Mateta’s physicality could be a huge bonus and take some attention away from the likes of Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise and Wilfried Zaha.
Last season, Mateta finished as Palace’s top-scoring striker, considering that Zaha isn’t an out-and-out centre-forward, so it is quite bizarre that he hasn’t been afforded more starts in the league by Vieira.
However, after biding his time and even netting against Aston Villa a couple of weeks ago, Mateta may be handed a chance to impress from the start, and as Cook says, ‘bring chaos’ to the game at Selhurst Park.